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Netherlands drops ticket fraud investigation

ACM chairman Chris Fonteijn says high secondary prices are the result of "supply and demand" and rejects claims of collusion between Ticketmaster and Seatwave

By Jon Chapple on 10 Jun 2016

Chris Fonteijn, BEREC

ACM chairman Chris Fonteijn

image © BEREC

The Netherlands’ Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has dropped its investigation into the country’s secondary ticketing sector, rejecting claims that primary and secondary outlets – specifically Live Nation/Ticketmaster and Seatwave – had colluded to gouge prices on resale sites.

The investigation was launched at the request of Belgium’s consumer affairs minister, Kris Peters – who last month successfully lobbied to have access to three secondary outlets blocked by Belgian ISPs – amid accusations of fraud after tickets for Adele’s sold-out shows in Amsterdam on 1 and 3 June appeared almost instantly on resale sites for close to €5,000.

Chris Fonteijn, chairman of ACM, says although there is often a “public outcry” when tickets for sold-out concerts appear for high prices on the secondary market, “our research shows that this is due to scarcity and popularity”.

“There is no evidence for claims that the fact that Ticketmaster and Seatwave are part of one company harms consumers”

“When there is a high demand for a product and low supply, prices are inflated,” he adds.

Fonteijn’s organisation also “found no evidence that the fact that these two companies [Ticketmaster and Seatwave] are part of one group harms consumers” and that “there are no exclusive resale of concert tickets [by primary ticket outlets] or agreements on the prices of the tickets on resale sites like Seatwave. Ticketmaster are not active as a reseller of tickets.”

The Dutch Senate is currently debating a proposal which would see a cap on prices for secondary-market tickets. ACM says a complete ban on touting isn’t a workable solution as it would create a “black market” for tickets, leading to “the situation for consumers deteriorating even further”.


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